Windshield wipers, also known as windscreen wipers, are used to clear rain and other foreign material from the windshield to improve visibility. Almost every type of moving vehicle is fitted with windshield wipers and in most jurisdictions they are a legally required to have fitted to the vehicle. The wipers are attached to the outside of the vehicle and move back and forth to clear the windshield. The part of the wiper that comes into contact with the windshield is made of rubber to avoid scratching the glass. Originally windshield wipers were either always on or always off. Today vehicles are also equipped with intermittent wipers that do not continuously operate, but are instead designed to wipe the windshield at timed intervals. If you have ever wondered who invented this important safety device, keep reading to find out.
Who invented intermittent windshield wipers?
One of the most important developments in windshield wiper technology was intermittent wipers. These wipers are particularly useful for light rain and in modern cars the rate at which these wipers work can be set specifically to match the rate of rainfall. This type of windshield wipers were invented by Robert Kearns in 1963 who came up with the idea after the constant movement of the blades disturbed his vision. He showed his invention to many motor companies, but none took up the idea. Ford offered a similar design in 1969 and Kearns launched a court battle that he eventually won. This story is told in the 2009 movie “Flash of Genius.”